Oxford Dictionary defines –
- An employer as a person or company that pays people to work for them
- A workplace as an office, factory, etc. where people work
- An organization as a group of people who form a business together to achieve a particular aim
The ‘key word’ in the above definition(s) is, People.
So, if we club the above three definitions, the outcome would be –
An Employer (could be single or a group of people) forms an Organization, hires People, and provides them with a Workplace to work together and achieve a particular aim/goal.
This makes the employer an entity with ‘power,’ and as our ‘friendly neighborhood Spiderman’ points out, “With Great Power comes Great Responsibility“!
Today, let us look at an important fundamental aspect of an employer/organization, which is the key to a successful employer-employee relationship – namely, ‘Responsibility.’
- Responsibility is defined as a moral duty to do something or to help or take care of somebody because of your job, position, etc.
In any organization, it is an employee’s responsibility to perform his/her task to help the organization achieve a said goal and objectives and act as an ideal brand ambassador to propagate the brand. Similarly, it is an employer’s responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of its employees.
The Year 2020 was a Year of significant ‘changes’ – we, as humans, were challenged to make drastic changes to our way of living, way of working, etc.; and we did!
Among other things, WFH became an acceptable norm and more than a year passed with us transitioning (more or less) seamlessly into the ‘new normal.’
Between COVID-19 peaking in November 2020 and successful vaccine trials (along with subsequent vaccination plans), it is now time to transition back into office mode. Many organizations started pilots with ‘ghost staffing’ and, encouraged by their success, started chalking out plans to get more of their resources back to work. An enormous task – easier said than done!
And just when we thought we thought we were moving back to the old normal of moving out and going back to the workplace, the peril of the new COVID-19 strain spread its terror, baffling the medical community across the globe. Traces of panic amongst the general public are evident – as is the confusion around these new strains’ knowledge.
This is where the ‘responsibility & accountability factor’ of an organization towards its employees increases many folds!
For the employees returning to work, leaders of organizations are already (diligently) following several safety measures –
- Regular clean-up & disinfection of the workplace
- Provision of Hand Sanitizers, Masks, etc.
- Monitoring Temperature
- Monitoring Oxygen Saturation
- Reiterating the importance of maintaining Social distancing (periodically)
- Reiterating the importance of wearing masks (periodically)
- Capping the number of individuals allowed to use meeting rooms & other confined spaces
Some organizations are going one step ahead and have decided to cover COVID-19 vaccination costs for employees as part of the employee welfare program.
However, an organization’s responsibility does not end here!
COVID-19 has attacked us where it hurts the most – The human psyche! In the world of medicines, the most challenging ailment to cure is the ‘ailment which attacks the mind.’
Because of the above reason, an organization and its leaders need to be well equipped to handle the following scenarios during this phase of transition –
- Panic situations created due to forwarded messages/videos on social media
- Provide required counseling wherever required – keep counselors onsite, if feasible
- Keep an open mind and listen to an employee’s concerns – do not be judgemental
- Empathize sincerely if a situation demands it
- Provide all support required to employees & their families affected by COVID-19
- Ensure basic hygiene amenities are always available
- Have updated medical insurance details handy for all employees
- Have regular touch-base meetings with all mid-level management/leadership to get appraised regarding situations on the operations floor
- Have a clear path defined for handling emergencies
Basically, from an organization’s standpoint, responsibility, accountability & adapting to the changing situation, now more than ever, is very crucial. The most important asset for any organization is undoubtedly its employees. While the pandemic may have threatened or stalled the organization’s functioning for some time, it certainly can not weaken its employees’ spirit and willingness to bring the organization’s viability back to where it stood before COVID-19 existence.
Humanity has always aced adversities thrown in our paths – together, as a team, WE can, and WE will triumph over this situation!
Wishing you a safe and hassle-free (covid-free) transition back to the office!